I'm a big comic book fan, and really love superhero movies. Since the turn of the millennium, it seems that every summer will have a superhero blockbuster. Or bomb. Remember Elektra? I'm not even sorry for making you remember that. I have compiled a list of the absolute best superhero movies released since 2000.

5. X-Men: First Class

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I think that because Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) was only a five second cameo, a lot of people didn't see this movie that should have. X-Men: First Class really stands on its own as a great movie, let alone a superhero movie. The movie is set in 1962, which is an amazing aesthetic for a superhero flick. No matter how high-tech the bad guy's submarine secret lair is, said secret lair has a black and white television. X-Men: First Class features wonderful performances from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who portray younger versions of "frenemies" Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto. Plus, there's Jennifer Lawrence wearing only body paint. You're welcome.

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4. The Incredibles

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Pixar almost never misses, and The Incredibles was a smash hit. It's smart, hilarious, visually pleasing, and original. It would have been easy for Pixar to make The Incredibles a spoof movie, but they didn't. They made a movie that is far better than a lot of other superhero films. The best part? It's a movie that kids and adults can both fully enjoy.


3. Spider-Man 2

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Few superhero movies take the time to develop their villains. That's what makes Spider-Man 2 so great. Sam Raimi did a wonderful job fleshing out the character of Dr. Otto Octavious for actor Alfred Molina to portray. As a moviegoer, I wanted to like Dr. Octavious, because he was wise and good-natured. I dreaded when he became Doc Ock. The movie also explores mostly-untouched ground when Peter Parker selfishly gives up being Spider-Man. (Superman II also did it.) Spider-Man 2 is so good, it almost makes Spider-Man 3 forgivable.


2. The Dark Knight

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How many movies make kids want to dress up as the villain, not the hero? Heath Ledger haunts us as he takes a new approach to the Joker, going for the more sociopath killer take on the character. It has been well-documented how the late Heath Ledger stole the show, so I will focus on other aspects of the movie. The Dark Knight avoids all cliches and does the right thing by killing off the annoying leading lady. If she was Katie Holmes, I might have taken that back. Some of the best parts of this movie come from the actors we are overlooking. Michael Caine should have an Oscar for his role of Alfred. Gary Oldman is also great. Some say it was too dark, but I believe dark was the right treatment.


1. Man of Steel

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I may get crucified for saying this, but Christopher Reeve's Superman is not relevant for this and future generations. As much as I hate to say it, that's the truth. That's why Superman Returns was so ill-received. They tried to turn Brandon Routh into Christopher Reeve. Henry Cavill perfectly embodies the spirit of a powerful man trying to understand his purpose. This is the perfect Superman orgin story. Superman wasn't always the big blue boy scout that he is today. He had to start somewhere. What do confused, overly-powerful men do? They destroy buildings and do things they forever regret, and learn from. The true beauty of this movie is not the power of Kal-El, but the gentle humanity of Clark Kent. At one point Clark walks over to a man harassing a waitress, and after asking him to stop, allows the man to dump his beer on him. The supporting cast was also wonderful, namely Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner, the fathers of Superman. The Man of Steel does an amazing job of bringing relevance to an icon we had lost sight of.


Honorable Mention

The Avengers

X2

Iron Man